INJURY is a footballer’s worst enemy at the best of times.
That disappointment amplifies when it happens a month out from a finals campaign.
That is the situation Nick Hausler found himself in after rolling his ankle playing for Koroit against Cobden on August 8.
Both Hausler’s teams – the Saints and TAC Cup club North Ballarat Rebels – are finals-bound.
“It’s really frustrating at this point of the year,” he said of the injury setback.
Hausler has missed three weeks but will return for the Rebels’ qualifying final at Princes Park on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels play country rival Geelong Falcons.
“They have beaten us twice this year so it will be a hard game,” he said.
“We probably just have to play as a team more.
“Everyone has to play their role.”
Hausler made a strong start to his TAC Cup debut season but admits his form has tailed off.
“I’ve been a bit up and down," he said.
“I need to lift my work rate a bit more and train hard.”
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said Hausler was a massive inclusion.
“Last week he was 80 to 90 per cent fit so we weren’t going to go into the game and risk him because he’s a very important player for us,” he said.
“The extra week off did him the world of good.
“We're pleased to have him back in the team.
“We’ve missed him the last three weeks because he gives us a good target down forward and competes and gives us a chop out in the ruck which important for us at the moment.”
Hausler’s Koroit teammate Jarrod Korewha, Portland’s Tom Templeton and South Warrnambool’s Hugh McCluggage will play against the Falcons.
Warrnambool’s Luke McLeod missed out on selection after playing in the final home and away round.
North Ballarat Rebels are eyeing their second statewide under 18 competition premiership. The David Loader-coached side has enjoyed a strong season, finishing atop the table with a 14-3 record.